Facial recognition to replace passports, boarding passes at Florida airport

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials in charge at Tampa International Airport will soon make big changes for travelers leaving the country by rolling out facial recognition technology this summer. 

The goal is to replace passports and boarding passes with biometric technology that scans your face before getting on the plane for international travel. 

International travelers heading out of town will still need a passport at check-in and to get through TSA security. 

The change will happen at the gate. That’s where travelers will have their face scanned by an IPad-like device, which will confirm their identity before being allowed to board the plane. 

“It’s accessing a database of information that already exists. It’ll streamlining the process. They’re [federal government] not gathering any new information, or photography or anything along those lines,” said Christine Osborn, communications manager at TIA. 

The database will match a passenger’s face with the passport photo that’s already on file. 

Airports in cities like Orlando and Atlanta are among the first to use biometric technology. 

TIA will debut the technology this summer at three international gates. The change is part of a requirement by the federal government to start using facial recognition on all outgoing international flights. 

“As long as the people that are using the technology are well trained and if it’s administered properly, I don’t have a problem with it,” said traveler Oliver Davis. 

“I have a global entry pass, so my fingerprints are already with the government, so that’s similar in a lot of ways with having your face as well. If it increases efficiency, then why not?” said traveler Ian Davis. 

The goal is to expand the biometric technology to all 10 outgoing international gates at TIA by 2020, according to airport officials. 

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